Cyclosporiasis cases up to 593 in U.S. outbreak

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 593 cases of infection with the Cyclospora cayetanensis parasite through Monday in 20 states, the CDC said on Tuesday.

The CDC first received word of the outbreak on June 28 when it was notified of two laboratory-confirmed cases of Cyclospora infection in Iowa residents who became ill in June. There are now 593 reported cases, 36 of whom required hospitalization. Cyclospora cayetanensis is a single-celled parasite that causes an intestinal infection known as cyclosporiasis.

The states of Iowa and Nebraska conducted investigations and found that restaurant-associated cyclosporiasis cases were linked to a salad mix distributed by foodservice salads processor Taylor Farms de Mexico. The tainted salad mix was supplied to Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants in Iowa and Nebraska.

Cases of cyclosporiasis were also reported in Wisconsin, Virginia, Texas, Tennessee, Ohio, New York, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Missouri, Minnesota, Louisiana, Kansas, Illinois, Georgia, Connecticut, California and Arkansas. The CDC said it was not year clear if the infected individuals were part of the same outbreak. Investigations are ongoing to determine if the tainted salad mix from Taylor Farms de Mexico is to blame for cases outside of Iowa and Nebraska.

On August 12, Taylor Farms de Mexico told the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that the company voluntarily suspended production of its salad mix components from its operations in Mexico to the U.S.